Lunges are old school-like cotton shirt, no gps watch old school. It’s an exercise that has been passed down through the exercise hierarchy as a means to strengthen the quads and supposedly, glutes. The exercise is preliminary and somewhat archaic, once used by the greats to improve durability and strength.
Our understanding of how the body moves, especially during sport, is increasing rapidly. We have greater understanding of how muscles contribute in chains and not as a solo act. In life, our body moves in 3-planes (for those who care: sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes). Although one plane may dominate a motion, say sagittal, during running, the other motions contribute.
|Planes of Motion|
|Sagittal||Forward & Back|
|Frontal||Side to Side|
Our exercises need to mimic function & sport. We want to take our body through ranges that target multiple muscle groups in a manner that mimic their use while running. A standard “drop your knee to the floor” lunge only utilizes one of three planes, all awhile placing tremendous stress on your knees. If you’ve been through our program before, we continually mention lever arms and maximizing your mechanical advantage (none of which are happening during a traditional lunge). Quite honestly, there’s not much in life that mimics this motion. Trust me; I just spent 5 minutes trying to construct some clever pun to poke fun at this exercise.
A standard lunge looks nothing like life. In life we side bend, we rotate, we flex. Our exercise needs to mimic these motions. You need to reform your lunges—adding other planes at varying angles. Leave the standard “drop your knee” lunges for the muscle heads. A lunge with a twist or sidebend can load your glutes, challenge your balance, and improve mobility in means that will improve your overall durability.